Pass the Idea Please

Pass the Idea Please: The Relationship between Network Position, Direct Engagement, and Course Performance in MOOCs

Stacey Houston, Katherine Brady, Gayathri Narasimham and Douglas Fisher

Extant research suggests that learner engagement in discussion forums is positively correlated with learner performance. In this paper we investigate which types of forum engagement are most strongly associated with final performance in MOOC courses. In particular, we compare the correlation between course final grade and two types of leaner engagement: direct measures, which count the number of interactions, and indirect measures, which capture learners position in a social network. We found that direct measures have stronger correlations with final grade. However, in preliminary analyses, we also found that course instructors score higher than learners on some indirect measures when included as actors in the social network. We discuss the implications of these findings and our plans for developing the work further in the future.